Bloc’s ag critic given added duties

The Bloc Quebecois’ critic for agriculture and agrifood will take on added critic responsibilities in his party’s much-reduced caucus.

Andre Bellavance, the MP for Richmond-Arthabaska and the Bloc’s agriculture critic since 2006, was named Thursday to keep that role and to handle the critic portfolios for international trade, industry and procedure and House affairs.

Bellavance, a journalist and radio announcer by profession, has held his riding, north of Sherbrooke, for the Bloc since 2004.

Since then he has served as vice-chair of the Commons standing committee on agriculture and agri-food, and of that committee’s subcommittee on agenda and procedure.

Maria Mourani, the Bloc MP for the Montreal riding of Ahuntsic since 2006, will be the party’s critic for environment and transport, among other portfolios in addition to her previous roles as critic for justice and public safety.

Gaspesie-area MP Jean-Francois Fortin, the lone rookie in the party’s four-member caucus, will be the party’s foreign affairs critic and Quebec regional development critic, among other portfolios.

The party’s remaining senior MP, Louis Plamondon, who has represented Bas Richelieu-Nicolet-Becancour since 1984, first as a Progressive Conservative, then as an independent before joining the BQ in 1990, takes over from the defeated Gilles Duceppe as the party’s leader in the Commons, and takes on three critic roles.

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